“Zappa Plays Zappa” is a catchy name, don’t you think?
It’s the name that Dweezil Zappa, son of the late musician Frank Zappa, gave to the musical tribute to his father that he’s been playing around the world for years. But now, due to a trademark dispute with the Zappa Family Trust, Dweezil’s summer tour will be called “Dweezil Zappa Plays Frank Zappa” which he admits doesn’t exactly roll off the tongue.
Dweezil says the name change was made “under duress.” You won’t even find any official Frank Zappa merchandise or images of his father in evidence on the tour, because that’s all under the control of a family trust. Luckily, he does still get to sing his father’s songs.
The New York Times recently detailed the trademark dispute underway between Dweezil and the family trust, which owns the rights to his father’s music and multiple Zappa trademarks. “My last name is Zappa; my father was Frank Zappa,” Dweezil told The Times. “But I am not allowed to use the name on its own. I’m not allowed to use a picture of him. I’m not allowed to use my own connection with him without some sort of deal to be struck.”
Up until her death in 2015, Dweezil’s mother Gail tightly managed rights to her late husband’s music and name. Earlier this year, The Times referred to Gail as a “fierce guardian of her husband’s business empire.” Upon her death, management of the trust fell to only two of the four Zappa children: Ahmet and Diva. The other two children, Dweezil and his sister Moon Unit are beneficiaries, but not trustees.